Every fairy tale is about a prince, princess or magic that we can only see it in our dreams. Like every other kid, I wanted my life to be like a fairy tale but failed to realize that it was just a book or movie that I’d watch. I was sad but now I realized that my life is no less than a fairy tale where there are miracles and god mother to save you and you really don’t need a prince charming to complete your fairy tale. It becomes just magical with people who believe in you and your magical spark which sometimes, you fail to realize it yourself.
This is my fairy tale that I realized recently and would like to share. So, as every fairy tale begins, mine too begins with “Once Upon A Time”.
Once upon a time, there was a little girl of about eight years old. She lived with her mother, father and sister. She was a dreamer and didn’t know what to do with her life. I mean, an eight year old shouldn’t be thinking about her life… I think! Anyways, she wanted to be everything: A singer, doctor, painter and really weirdly, a clown. She wanted to see everyone smile and didn’t like fights. Well, her sister was an exception though, but whose isn’t? Even though she had fights with her sister, they also played “Self invented games”.
She loved racing her bike with her friends and run out in the mud and dust, jumping off tall walls and just running around after school. She was not like other girls who loved collecting flowers and playing with dolls. She loved her bike and the evening air that stroked her cheeks letting her short black hair fly in the air like her little dreams. Her dark brown eyes sparkled when she sped up her bike and left her hand doing stunts that she shouldn’t be doing. But she didn’t care about wrong or right then, she did what she wanted. She did not like skirts, she like pants and trousers. She had very strange interests. She loved falling down, having scratches then showing it off to her friends. Her games would be faking fractured arms and wearing a shield for her arms. She really wished her arms would break and that was really strange. She liked getting hurt because she knew she would stand up again. She trusted herself and knew she was strong enough. She and her sister also formed a team to help people in need in the way. But I think that was just the influence of T.V. shows about super heroes that she loved watching. She loved watching Cinderella too with her sister. She would ball dance around in the theme song with her sister. She thought she was like Cinderella who would turn out to be a princess someday.
She and her dad were exceptionally close. They wrestled together and she loved pants with a back pocket because she could keep her purse there and when they go shopping could take out her purse from that back pocket: just like her dad. She also liked to put her dad’s aftershave because she loved that smell. Her dad used to rub some on her cheeks and she used to be the happiest girl in earth. But her mom did not like that and said, “Don’t put it on or else you’d get a mustache.”
She didn’t care about having a mustache. She probably would have liked it. Her mom used to get worried about her daughter because she was different and her games with her friends usually involved carrying them because she was stronger. She was proud of it and loved being tough and weird.
Slowing, this little girl started growing up. Her age carried a double digit. She was now ten years old.
One day, while riding her bike, she had an accident. It was her fault, she was a show off and wanted to be a dare devil. What happened was, it was monsoon and the roads were slippery with muddy puddles. She was riding her “mountain-bike” with a friend seated behind her. She had enough load already and she left both her hands at that moment. The front tire went in the puddle, turned and the handle hit her directly in the chest. She couldn’t move, speak and breathe. She felt that was the last day in the life. Her friends ran away and left her choking on the muddy road. Finally after a moment which felt like a lifetime to her, a neighbor helped her to her home. The ten year olds’ devastated mother never let her ride after that and her bike journey ended there.
She was getting older and being the tallest one in the class, she was called “Eiffel Tower”. With her height, her belly was not so little anymore. She was tomboy-ish and wanted to choose martial arts as extracurricular activity in her school but because of ill health, she had to choose violin.
Her double digit was trying to say that she was growing up as a girl, so she couldn’t go out at evenings and play outside, she couldn’t wear whatever she liked, and she couldn’t take out wallet from her back pocket of the pants that she adored. That was the year, her uncle said she was having a big belly and should lose weight.
From 10, she turned 13 in no time. The eight year old wild child was losing herself trapped in the body of an overweight, just turned teenager who longed to throw her powered glasses and thick skinned cover to be her true self. Something was pulling her to be that wild child again, to feel the evening wind on her bike, to feel the burning scars and to play with mud and dust. But the cover had grown so thick over time that she couldn’t come out of it.
Even though the eight year old was gone, she’d left her dreams with the thirteen year old. Those dreams were everything
to her, the only proof of who she was years ago. She saved those dreams in her heart and relived it when she read books. She loved books because she could transform herself into any character or person she never thought she’d be. So, she got lost in her own world and was quite, clutching her book, hiding her dreams from the society behind her thick glasses, afraid it would be snatched away too like her old self.
Her change from bike to books was an extra ordinary experience. She sometimes remembered the little girl but was aware of the fact that the little girl would now never return. Her early teen was also the beginning to her new hobby apart from reading. She’d won first prize in a story writing competition and that was quite interesting for her. She’d never imagined about writing and being a writer. She sure wrote diaries when she was sad but taking it to professional level had never cropped up in her mind. But after years of reading different books, she’d picked up a pattern from various writers and conceived a writing pattern of her own.
Soon, she was known among her friends as “writer” and after receiving various merit cards for publishing her work in national daily’s, “The Merit Card Girl”. But the “writer” and “The Merit Card Girl” was unhappy. Apart from the above identity that she had, she also had the identity of an obese teenager and comparisons to larger objects or animals. She was a huge fan of Nicholas Sparks, so she learnt to portray sadness into paper but not happiness. So she wrote and wrote but her words stung people and brought tears of sorrow, never of happiness.
She was so used to writing sad stories that she turned her own life into one. The pages of her dairy were full of tears and sad instances of her life. She was unhappy about her weight, powered spectacles, separated teeth, darker skin tone, her cloths, her voice, her family and almost everything she lived with. She was so used to writing “cold” and “dark” in her poem and short stories that she forgot to feel “warmth “and “light” in her life that she lived.
Her dissatisfaction towards everything had started to grow. She felt uglier and fatter every passing day. She sometimes wanted to bite away the flesh clinging loose to her arms, belly and thigh. She’d cry herself to sleep every night. She was disappointed with her looks but had the confidence to win a debate competition when she was 14. But 15 took its toll and she stood on the stage frozen, like a statue of a clown that was to be mocked. Unfortunately, that clown was not of clay but blood and flesh gifted with ears that could hear the laughter and eyes that could see the mocking faces. She really wished she was of clay then. At least, she wouldn’t have to have that feeling of shame in the pit of her stomach.
Months later, she again froze in a speech competition. When she heard the mock again and felt the same shame in the pit of her stomach, that was the moment, she swore, she would NEVER go up to the stage again.
She was ashamed of herself and that was the worst feeling ever. That year many things happened; mostly bad. She was selected as one the prefect in her school; a very prestigious title to lead the school with her other prefect friends. Even though she was a leader, she couldn’t feel powerful and lead well. She was afraid of not being liked if she acted “over-smart”, that’s what she thought. So she was quite passive.
That was also the year she failed in optional mathematics for the first time. She was shocked and couldn’t bear another dark spot in her “self profile” that she’d created. She was moving from being unhappy to being depressed slowly; coping it all up alone.
It was her sweet-sixteen year and nothing was sweet about it. She was failing math and her percentage was decreasing. The pressure of being “prefect” and “perfect” was eating her up. She felt like she had to be perfect to meet the expectations that people have on her but was failing to match that standard. The little light that she had was flickering to die, leaving her hopeless.
She was told, “You don’t have a good face or figure to be a model if you fail further in you studies”.
She was told things that no one should have heard when they were just sixteen. She was shown a dark path where she was supposed to walk alone scribbling in her diary filled with drops of tears on the way. Her parents were also not much of a support. Apart from asking the reason why she was failing and showing prospects of not studying, they did not do anything else. She was unable to answer the questions because she was clueless what was happening to her. She felt alone in this crowded world where no one was willing to forget her imperfections, hug her tight at least once to say,
“Everything was going to be alright. I’m with you.”
When she failed another term in grade 10 (SLC year, a big thing here in Nepal), she had the worst thought that anyone should never have had. She thought she didn’t deserve to live and probably she was super over thinking person that she ended up having fever of 103 degree Celsius. So the parents couldn’t actually scold her much. But that day, something had changed. She already felt ashamed but since that moment, she felt worthless and that was like the worse feeling ever. It was like torturing yourself by sunbathing in the desert of Sahara on a summer’s day. The little wild child who loved falling down and getting hurt because she knew she would stand back up again was lost.
But with some help, counseling and extra tuition, she passed her grade 10 with good grades. Now, grade 10 was done and she would be going to a high school which we call “College” a sign of getting older. In her summer vacation of three months, she took guitar classes because it was one of her wish to be able to strum along songs. She went to a new high school where she was in a different environment and had new friends. She was slowing getting used to the new life and coming out of the dark. She was seeing little light now but still was scribbling in her diary filled with tears.
A year had gone by, and one day, like in the story of Cinderella, there was announcement of a “royal ball”. It wasn’t a royal ball but a program that changed her life like the royal ball that changed Cinderella’s life. She was really happy to hear about the program and decided to join the program. She filled the forms, got selected even in the interview which was the first interview of her life and she had dreaded the results of it so much. Finally, she was allowed to join the ball with 30 other young ladies who were to be trained as a leader. Do you remember? Cinderella had a god mother to help her dress her up, giving the opportunity to meet the prince. Well, the 17 year old too had a god mother who had come gliding that day with golden hair like tiara of a fairy to announce about the program that would change her life. Her god mother waved her magic wand and with silver shimmering light, taught her to be herself without being ashamed of who she was. Her god mother had told her that she was strong, a statement she had long forgotten. But she believed in her god mother and she knew she was strong. It was magic to her, her change that she’d have.
She doesn’t know if she’ll be a princess but she knows she will be a queen of her own life, walking down its aisle, strong and confident to fight any tornado in her life, may be sometimes tripping in her long white dress but picking herself up with the help of people who believe in her. She will never need a prince to feel secure and protected because she has people who knows she will conquer all the ill fates that will come towards her kingdom of dream.
In this way, the wild child turned into a queen who stands up after falling because every fall teaches you about the depth of the pit she has to fill up with courage. The fairy tale has just begun because Cinderella has just found out the path to her happiness, she’s yet to live in a palace.